“We ask researchers not to participate in the activities of the Huawei research center in Paris”

Tribune. In the fall of 2020 settled in a private mansion at 7e arrondissement of Paris, the Lagrange research center in mathematics and calculation. This center, fully funded by the Huawei company, “Will bring together around thirty scientists, including around ten internationals. They will have the chance to evolve in a unique ecosystem, that of Ile-de-France, which has both the largest concentration of mathematicians in the world and the best universities in the field ”. The fields in which the research of this center will be carried out are mathematics and computer science.

Read also: Chinese giant Huawei’s intense lobbying with French policymakers

Huawei, a Chinese company created in 1987, is today an industrial juggernaut, with 197,000 employees, a turnover of 136 billion dollars and a net profit of 9.88 billion in 2020. The opaque structure of its capital suggests that it is controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China. At the start of 2020, it was the world’s leading producer of smartphones and equipment for telecommunications networks. Its technology is based on a very significant research and development effort carried out in 21 centers located in several countries.

Read the op-ed: “Huawei is a strategic weapon of the Chinese state to suppress the Uighurs”

The strong presence of this company in France is anything but inspired by an altruistic objective of knowledge development. For her, this is about public relations, contracts, but also about benefiting from our scientific skills. However, Huawei is a major player in the surveillance tools put in place by the Chinese government throughout China, and especially in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, mainly populated by non-Han ethnic groups, in particular the Uighurs or the Kazakhs, of religion. Muslim.

Direct involvement

After troubles (1997-2013) due to the sinization policy, a systematic campaign of repression was launched by the Chinese government in 2014. It is estimated that 1 to 2 million inhabitants of the Turkish “minorities” in the region were interned since 2017 in mass detention camps called “political re-education camps”, the existence of which is now well documented.

In these, the detainees are subjected to propaganda aimed at breaking all links with their culture and religion, including the banning of their languages, the destruction of mosques or cemeteries as well as forced indoctrination. Numerous cases of torture or inhuman treatment have been reported: inmates beaten up, shackled, hung from the ceiling, deprived of water, food or sleep. Prisoners or ex-prisoners are subjected to forced labor in the cotton industry.

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